The Owosso Community Players will host a benefit show at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, to raise funds for OCP’s Artistic Director Garrett Bradley, who underwent a heart transplant Aug. 23 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.
The cabaret-style show, “The Best of Broadway Duets,” will feature 20 of OCP’s outstanding performers on the Lebowsky stage, where Bradley has spent countless hours directing a number of big productions since he was hired a year and a half ago. Prior to his official hiring, Bradley had contributed his talents over the years to countless successful productions on the Lebowsky stage and later the Studio Theater during the Rebuild.
When Bradley suffered sudden heart failure in early July, his OCP “family” immediately talked about what they could do to help, and initially put their efforts toward boosting his spirits with flowers, funny Facebook posts and various gifts sent to him in the hospital, according to benefit coordinators Lyn Freeman and Julie Wenzlick. “The Bradley family felt the outpouring of love, prayers and well wishes from the local community and from friends all over the world on social media,” said Wenzlick.
When Bradley’s health reached its lowest point in August, getting on the transplant list became his only hope for survival. Friends and family rejoiced on Aug. 20 when they learned he had been approved for urgent status on the heart transplant list, according to Wenzlick. On the following Saturday, only two days later, doctors informed Bradley at 11 p.m. that a heart was available and surgery would be the next morning.
“The joy of hearing that Garrett had received a heart only three days after being on the transplant list was a huge boost to the cast of ‘Legally Blonde’ and to all of Garrett’s well-wishers,” said Freeman, who not only serves as the benefit coordinator but who also volunteered to serve as director of “Legally Blonde” when Garrett was critically ill.
“As we thought about what we could do to help Garrett, many of our performers expressed a desire to do a benefit to help Garrett pay his medical bills and pay for the drugs he will need to take for the rest of his life,” Freeman said. “And what better way for singers to raise money than to put on a show!” she added.
A group of OCP singers will perform some of Broadway’s favorite duets, with accompaniment by Lansing’s John Dale Smith. Performers include professional recording artists Mandy Bashore and Ryan DeHues. Joining them will be some of OCP’s veteran singers: Angela Bradley, Quentin Brainerd, Rachael Cupples, Mary Jo Damm Strong, Lorraine DeHues, Ava Fett, Kyle Harwood, Vinnie Lindquist, Mary Maurer, Michael Reath, Grace Rosen, Tim Ruwart, Maggie Smith, Julie Wenzlick and Mike Windnagle.
The event will also feature a 50/50 raffle and the sale of #teamgarrett wristbands and T-shirts. Money raised will go toward Bradley’s medical expenses. He was released from U of M Hospital on Sept. 10 and is recovering at home, but will make many visits to Ann Arbor as doctors continue to monitor his progress.
Tickets for “The Best of Broadway Duets” are on sale at the Lebowsky Box Office, (989) 723-4003, or online at owossoplayers.com. All seats are $15 and donations are welcome at the event. All checks should be made out to HUG. People who wish to donate but are unable to attend the benefit may mail checks (made out to HUG) to HUG, C/O Lyn Freeman, P.O. Box 1514, Owosso, MI 48867.